There is such a thing called “the scarlet thread that runs through the Bible.” It refers to the original prophecies and the fulfilled prophecies of Jesus Christ. In particular it references the sacrificial blood of animals in the Old Testament and the blood of Christ shed on the cross. To avoid overlooking this vital truth, we must understand the connection between those Old Testament sacrifices and Christ on the cross. It is not a coincidence that in both cases the sacrifices were accomplished as part of the redemption of believers.
The Old Testament believers looked toward Christ even though they did not realize that the death of those animals was symbolic and connected with faith as the followers of God. New Testament believers, the writers of the New Testament, and today’s worshipers all look back at the connection of blood in both Testaments.
Blood represents the life of the victim. It is offered as a substitute for the repentance by the sinner. This is why we say that we are washed in the blood. In the Old Testament the animal died on behalf of the one making the offering. In the New Testament Christ was the final and perfect sacrifice for the sins of repenting worshipers. In Hebrews 9:22 there is an explanation for the guilt of sin being taken away. It says, “without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.”
A direct connection between the animal sacrificed to that of Christ on the cross is significant. Animal sacrifices could not continue indefinitely because animals do not commit sin, nor can they be spiritually perfect. They are symbolic for the position of the forgiven child of God. On the other hand, Christ was in a position to be tempted for the possibility of committing sin. His perfect life made him the only possible sacrifice for us and brought an end to animal sacrifices.
When Christ shed his blood, it brought an end to his continued earthly life. It was given voluntarily to take our place so that we can avoid being slain. On the Jewish Day of Atonement, the people of Israel at the foot of Mount Sinai were sprinkled with the blood by the priest. When Jesus instituted the Lord’s supper, he mentioned the new covenant in his blood.
The animal sacrifices of the Old Testament are not disjointed from Christ shedding his blood for us. To understand the meaning of sacrifices, we must look at this as linear and prophetic and unfolding. When the Israelites were preparing to leave their captivity in Egypt, God told them to collect the blood of the Lamb and place it around the doorpost of their homes so that when the death Angel came, they would be spared. No better understanding can be mentioned than the Jewish Passover. Life was given on behalf of the Israelites and displayed at the entrance of their homes. Likewise, the life of Jesus was given on behalf of those who would accept him as Savior and his blood is the intervention with God.
There is a direct connection between the early pages of the Old Testament and the death of Christ reported in the New Testament. It is a continuum, not two separate theological issues. This is why it is so important that we recognize Christ as the perfect son of God who allowed his body to be murdered and his blood to be shed so that we might all be saved according to the loving plan of the heavenly Father.
Following are a few examples of Scriptures they refer and connect the old and New Testament by the shedding of blood: compare Leviticus 17, Hebrews 9, 1 Peter 1, Revelation 1 and 5, Exodus 24, 1 John 2, Jeremiah 31, Luke 22, 1 Corinthians 11.